World champion Mark Cavendish is encouraging kids, parents and teachers from 900 schools across the UK to get on their bikes for the journey to school this March as part of Sustrans’ Big Pedal.
The Big Pedal – taking place from March 5th to 23rd 2012 – is the UK’s biggest school cycling competition to get kids active and raise money for the charity Sustrans, with top prizes up for grabs for the schools that involve most people.
“It’s great to see more people out and about cycling and I always smile when I see a family or a child on a bike," said Cavendish.
“The Big Pedal is a great Sustrans competition to get more kids out on two wheels. So many kids want to cycle so we should make it easy for them to get around by bike and to be fit and healthy.
“It's brilliant to see Sustrans encouraging children from a young age to be happy, independent and free-range, and maybe even feel inspired to become future British cycling champions.”
Sustrans said that nearly half of all children want to be able to get to school by bike but only four per cent do. The three week Big Pedal competition has been designed to show children and parents how easy it is to get around on two wheels.
Sustrans Director for English Regions Carl Pittam added: “It’s amazing to see so many schools signed up to take part in this year’s competition.
“Sustrans is helping thousands of children across the country to be out and about, active and independent, with the freedom to get around on foot or by bike.
“The success of last year’s competition proves just how much kids want to be able to cycle to school and we know for a fact that plenty of children continued to cycle to school as a result.”
The race is funded by the bicycle industry through the Bike Hub industry levy. Phillip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association, added: "The future of cycling depends on every generation of kids learning and wanting to cycle. What better way to get started than joining in the Big Pedal.
“The cycle industry through its Bike Hub levy is delighted to fund this event for another year. 2012 is a very special year; the Big Pedal marks the start of the Summer of Cycling – a new campaign bringing together everyone who cycles and encouraging them to introduce one new-comer to cycling during the year.”
Cav picture from his official site.